Group pensions and protection business falls

Regular premium group business fell across pensions and protection in the first quarter of 2008, compared to the same quarter last year according to figures from the ABI.

New occupational pension business, which covers both defined benefit and defined contribution pensions, fell 1.9 per cent to and#163;203m, from a figure of and#163;207m in Q1 of 2007. This was offset by a 24 per cent increase in new single premium occupational pension business, however. Decumulation business, which covers annuities and drawdown, fell 3 per cent to and#163;3.3bn from and#163;3.45bn, reflecting the effect of falling equity markets on the size of pension pots.

The figures come weeks after Norwich Union’s results showed its regular premium group pensions business fell 29 per cent in the first quarter of 2008.

New group protection business saw a 15.4 per cent fall year on year for Q1 business, down to and#163;73m in 2008 from and#163;86m last year.

Ron Wheatcroft, technical manager at Swiss Re says: “I don’t think the industry should get in a complete panic about these group protection figures because it is hard to disentangle how much business is actually in place by simply looking at new business. Our figures, which are based on business actually in place, showed that the level of in force group income protection products rose 4.7 per cent in 2007 compared to the previous year.”